Lastovo Nature Park

One of Croatia’s remotest inhabited islands, Lastovo, located 13 KM off shore (south) of Korcula and covering less than 10 x 5 km it surface area a little under 50 sq KM in area. Yet it sits at the centre of an archipelago of 46 smaller islands (including Susac) and islets that spread for 195km and were as a group declared a nature park by the Croatian government in September 2006.


It is the very distance and remoteness of Lastovo from the region’s two main tourist centres (Dubrovnik and Split) that has kept the islands unspoilt and led to their designation as a Nature Park, a protection that is presumably meant to ensure their unique character survives both for Lastovci and visitors alike into the future.  The first thing you will notice when you step ashore is the silence and then the bird song. There are cars here but they are few and far between and while there are also several hotels and the usual spread of houses and rooms to rent, the island has not been subject to the extensive development of the big hotel companies seen on Hvar or Korcula.



The archipelago looking to the east


Lastovo is heavily wooded (primarily with Holm Oak and Aleppo Pines) and has recovered well from severe forest fires in 1971 and 1998. This canopy attracts a wide range of bird and animal life, particularly falcons and hawks including the rare Elenora’s Falcon (once a major export for the island) that can be seen nesting in the trees, but no poisonous snakes.


The Nature Park designation lists the island’s mild climate and high average number of days with sun (2700 hours annually) as one of its special features as well as the sea life (particularly, corals, sea hedgehogs, lobsters, crayfish and octopus along with John Dory and Groupers) that can be found around the archipelago's 46 islands and generally for the broad range of the biodiversity that has survived in this largely undeveloped environment. This listing also cover’s the islands Jurassic and Cretaceous limestones and caves.


The Island’s main town, also called Lastovo, is unusual for the capital of an Adriatic Island in that it looks not towards the sea but inland into the interior. Located in a massive, natural, amphitheatre on the northern shore, it is a 30 minute walk either from the nearby natural anchorage of Zaklopaticsa or from the town’s own harbour and once you crest the ridge behind which it sits the views are tremendous.


Lastovo Town


The town is famed for its 15th and 16th Century architecture, though records of occupation of the island go back to the Illyrians and Romans and continue through Venetian occupation around 1000AD into the post-medieval period when the Island aligned itself with the government of Dubrovnik. Perhaps the most notable features in the town are the many churches and chapels and also the distinctive chimneys or fumari. These tall, often cylindrical structures can be seen on many of the town’s older buildings (and some of the new ones) often surrounded by terraces and seats suggesting they provided a focus (and warmth) for outside living.




As well as taking the time to walk around the narrow and quite streets of Lastovo town, it is worth making the climb to the top of the hill that overlooks the town and much of the island. At the top you will find a small fortification or lookout post that appeared to be being converted into a private dwelling in 2008, but from around this building you will get the most fantastic views not only of the town beneath you, but of the shore, Korcula to the north, many of the Nature Park’s surrounding islands and also the interior of Lastovo which includes several fertile valleys and peaks rising to 400+ metres (Mount Hum on the island’s south coast is the tallest at 417m).




Lastovo town has bars, a hotel, a supermarket, chandlery, a bank, post office and a medical centre. The island has a population of less than 900 permanent residents of which half live in the town. Of those who do not most are to be found in the port town of Ubli on the south-west corner of the island (around 6km from Lastovo Town) in the bay of Veli Lago. It is here that ferries from Split, Hvar and Korcula dock on a daily basis and where many of the island’s services are to be found including a post office and fuel berth. As well as the town harbour where customs facilities are to be found there is a small ‘marina’ (30 berths with power and water in the north of the bay at the Pension Ladesta (also known as the Hotel Secludo).


There are three other primary anchorages on the island. Immediately to the north of Ubli in the bay of Mali Lago, though shallower than Veli Lago this bay is very popular in the summer and also has some laid moorings/dockage associated with the Ladesta Marina. To the east of Ubli, on the island’s southern shore is the bay of Skrivena Luka which is another popular anchorage, with several micro-marinas/pontoons associated with the bay’s restaurants. Be aware that holding in Skrivena Luka is reported as being poor in places and that the bay is subject to strong gusts in both the Bora and the Sirrocco.


Finally there is the bay of Zaclopaticsa on the north shore near Lastovo Town. This is a well sheltered anchorage within walking distance of the town and is the location of four restaurants, three of which boast ‘micro-marinas’. The large islet that sits in the mouth of this bay can only be passed on its east side, but helps to offer good all round shelter.



Zaklopaticsa Harbour

 

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